Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Rescues Gone Awry Continued

Those of you who are regular readers may recall last week's harrowing tales of rescues gone awry. After being dedicated to the cause for as many years as Lisa’s been, she had lots of stories to share so I wanted to offer a few more.

Turtle Crossing

Driving down Highway 94 west during the summer, I saw a flash of what appeared to be a turtle on the side of the road. A dark olive, almost black color body with a bright yellow throat - Oh no! – a Threatened species, a Blanding’s turtle. By the time I realized what I had seen at 65 miles an hour, I was well past it and had to go to the next exit, take 94 east, exit and go back west. I saw the turtle ahead still on the shoulder, not in the road, thank goodness. I pulled over and jumped out to grab the turtle before it was hit by a car. It was an olive colored canteen with a bright yellow lid, which was popped open, pointing upward. I rescued it anyway. Another time during the summer when turtles were crossing the roads to lay eggs, I was driving and saw a turtle laying on the road. I stopped to rescue it, but it was a piece of car tire. I have also stopped to rescue several snakes that turned out to be car engine belts.

Blandings turtles may be endangered, but nearly all of the reptiles and amphibians native to Wisconsin are experiencing population declines due to loss of habitat and interactions with people (and our vehicles)

Seeing isn’t always believing

Driving to work one morning east on Highway 94, I saw a red-tailed hawk sitting on the west 94 shoulder. Probably hit by a vehicle, it was sitting injured or stunned on the shoulder. I exited east 94, went back west bound. I scanned the shoulders as I drove but did not see any hawk on the shoulder on either side of the road. Maybe it was just stunned and flew away, maybe it was eating roadkill on the shoulder and flew away. I exited west 94 and returned to east 94 to head back to work. As I approached the same spot, the red-tail was back on the shoulder. I looked more carefully at the location, marking landmarks in my mind so I could more accurately pinpoint where the hawk was. Exit east 94, back on west 94. As I approached the spot, I pulled off on the shoulder and put my flashers on. No hawk on the shoulders. Looking further, I spotted the red-tailed hawk sitting on top of a fence post in the far ditch. I walked towards it and it flew off, giving me a haughty stare. From east 94, I could not see the fencepost in the ditch; the optical illusion was that the hawk was standing on the shoulder of the raised highway. So, laughing at myself, but glad the hawk wasn’t hurt, I drove off west 94 once again and head back on east 94 to work.

Our educational Red-tailed Hawk, Raenah, was a victim of a vehicle strike

Guest Blogger LR

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